Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter in Stuttgart, Germany




I am in Stuttgart, Germany this week and next week go to Ramstein, Germany. I'm here to teach two courses for the University of Oklahoma's Advanced Programs, a graduate program for military personnel, contractors, and dependents. There is snow on the ground here in Stuttgart and reminds me of the winters I experienced growing up in Upstate New York, and when in college in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Avatar

I recently saw the movie, Avatar, twice! It was that good. The story works well on many levels--hero's adventure, love story, man (Navi) v machine. But it also can be criticized for some typical Hollywood stereotypes--the white guy saves the people!

I've recently been re-reading Jared Diamond's excellent book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. It's interesting to think of his book in light of Avatar. The parallel story would be that the indigenous tribal people of New Guinea (or the Native Americans, African pygmies, Australian aborigines, etc.) were somehow able to fight off the invading Europeans. But this didn't happen in human history.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day

Today is the first day of 2010. This morning we each uttered our resolution for this year. Mine is to finally put together a book proposal for the 外籍新娘 (foreign brides) research I did in Taiwan. I have already written several papers, and the task will be to put them together for a more complete argument.

I just found out from Facebook that my friend, Scott Milsom, just passed away. He was 46. Scott and I were great friends. I always thought of him as my "best friend" but he did not call me his "best friend." That was what he called a friend he knew in Pennsylvania, or something like that.

I believe that it was when were in high school that his step-dad died suddenly from a heart attack. Apparently the same just happened to Scott. I can't believe it. I'm devastated.

I've enjoyed the life that I've led, but my regret is that I don't keep up with friends from the places that I've lived in the past. This takes work, and I don't do enough. Thanks to Facebook I can have some contact with others. Even though I haven't seen Scott in years, memories of the times we spent together live on in my mind. They are vivid.